The platter is a flat round disk used to hold the data. The disk is made of a material that forms a rigid base.
This base gets a magnetic coating that holds the zeros and ones, making data.
It is the platter that determines the drive's form factor.
The form factor is called out in standardized sizes, such as 3.5", which conveniently fits into a drive bay in a case.
Each platter has two surfaces, each which can be used for storing data. Typically, several platters are stacked to form a single assembly that spins as a single unit. Because at the platters spin at a higher rate of speed, they must be well balanced. Furthermore, each platter must be very smooth and flat, as you will see shortly.
The trend is towards ever-smaller platters, for a number of reasons including:
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